The Killing of Sallam bin Abul-Huqaiq
Sallam bin Abul-Huqaiq (known as Abu Rafi’) was a terrible Jewish criminal, who had rallied the Confederate troops and provided them with wealth and supplies, he also caused harm to the Prophet and other Muslims. When the Muslims concluded their action with Banu Quraizah, the tribe of Al-Khazraj sought out the permission of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to assassinate him so that they can merit a virtue that was equal to al-Aws, who were responsible for the assassination of another Jewish criminal, Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf. The Prophet gave them his permission with the stipulation that no women or children should be killed in the process.
A group of five people, headed by `Abdullah bin `Ateek (May Allah be Pleased with him), went to Khaibar, where the fort of `Abu Rafi’ was located. The men approached the area after sunset, and the people of the fort had driven back their livestock. `Abdullah (May Allah be Pleased with him) said to his companions, “Remain at your places, while I go and I will try to deceive the gate-keeper in allowing me entrance.’’
So, `Abdullah proceeded towards the castle, and when he approached the gate, he covered himself with his clothes and pretended to answer the call of nature. The people had gone in, and the gate-keeper addressed him saying, “O servant of Allah, enter if you wish, for I want to close the gate.’’
‘Abdullah added in his story: So, I went in and hid myself. When the people were all inside, the gate-keeper closed the gate and hung the keys on a fixed wooden peg. I got up and took the keys and opened the gate.
Some people were staying late with Abu Rafi’ and chatting in one of his rooms. When they left, I went to him. Whenever I opened a door, I would lock it from the inside, saying to myself, “Should these people discover my presence, they will not be able to catch me until I have killed him.’’ I reached him and found him sleeping in a dark place amidst his family. I could not recognize his location in the house, so, I shouted, “Abu Rafi’!’’ Abu Rafi’ said, “Who is it?’’ I proceeded towards the source of the voice and hit him with the sword, but because of my confusion, I was unable to kill him.
He cried loudly, and I went out of the house and waited for a while, then I went to him again and said, “What is this voice, Abu Rafi’?’’ He said, “Woe to your mother! A man has struck me with a sword in my house!’’
I again hit him hard but I was unable to kill him. Then I drove the point of the sword into his belly until it went to his back, and I realized that I had finally killed him. I then opened the doors one by one until I reached the stairs, and thinking that I had reached the ground, I stepped out and fell down, breaking my leg on a moonlit night.
I tied my leg with a turban and proceeded on until I sat at the gate, and said, “I will not leave tonight until I know that I have killed him.’’ So, (in the early morning) when the cock crowed, an announcer stood on the wall and said: “I announce the death of Abu Rafi’, the merchant of Hijaz.’’ Then I went to my companions and said, “Let us save ourselves, for Allah has killed Abu Rafi’.’’
I went to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and narrated the entire story to him. He said to me, “Stretch out your leg.’’ I stretched it out and he rubbed it, and it became healed, as if it never had any ailment whatsoever.’’
This is the report of al-Bukhari. According to Ibn Ishaq, all five of the men participated in the assassination of that enemy of Islam. This incident took place in Dhul-Qa`dah or Dhul-Hijjah, 5 A.H.
Shortly after the conclusion of the battle with the Confederates and Quraizah, the Prophet began to dispatch disciplinary expeditions to force the aggressive tribes and rebellious Arabs to come to peaceful terms with the rising Islamic State.
Mission of Muhammad bin Maslamah
A platoon of thirty believers under the leadership of Muhammad bin Maslamah (May Allah be Pleased with him) were dispatched on a military mission in Muharram, 6 A.H., following the two previous battles.
It headed for the area of Bani Bakr bin Kilab, which was about seven nights journey from Madinah and situated in the area of Najd. The Muslims attacked them and dispersed them in all directions.
Plenty of spoils fell to the Muslims, who returned home with a terrible disbeliever, Thumamah bin Uthal Al-Hanafi, the Chief of Bani Hanifah. He had been sent out by the order of Musailimah the Liar to assassinate the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The Prophet’s Companions tied him to a pole in the Prophet’s Masjid. Whenever the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) questioned him, “What have you got, O Thumamah?’’ Thumamah would say: “I have got a good thought, O Muhammad! If you were to kill someone, then you would have to choose one who has already killed someone. If you were to be gracious, then let it be to a grateful man; and if you were to ask for money, you would have to ask for it from a generous man.’’ He repeated that three times on three different occasions.
The third time, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered his release.
He went nearby, washed, and then came back to profess the new faith addressing the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “There was no face on the surface of this earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved to me. By Allah, there was no religion more disliked by me than yours, but now it is the most beloved religion to me. I want to perform the `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).”
The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave him the good tidings and told him to do so.
On his arrival in Makkah, the Quraish accused him of apostasy. He denied it and affirmed that he had embraced Islam, and then swore that they would never get a grain from Yamamah, a suburban area around Makkah, unless the Prophet would allow it. In fact, he refused to send any food supplies to Makkah until the Prophet interceded on behalf of the Makkans.
The Invasion of Bani Lihyan
Bani Lihyan had acted treacherously towards ten of the Prophet’s Companions at Ar-Raji` and then had them hanged.
They were situated deep in the heart of Hijaz, bordering Makkah. Due to deep-seated blood revenge between the Muslims on the one hand and Quraish and the Arabs on the other, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) considered it unwise at that time to penetrate deep inside enemy territory and come close to their greatest enemy, the Quraish.
However, when the power of the Confederates collapsed and they began to slacken and resign to the current unfavorable balance of power, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) seized this rare opportunity and decided that it was time to take revenge on Bani Lihyan. He set out in Rabi`ul-Awwal or Jumada Al-Ula, 6 A.H., at the head of two hundred Muslim fighters. He pretended to be heading toward Syria, but soon changed route towards Batn Gharran, the scene of his Companions’ tragedy, and invoked Allah’s mercy on them.
News of his march reached Bani Lihyan, who immediately fled to the nearby mountain and therefore remained out of his reach.
On his return, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dispatched a group of ten horsemen to a place called Kura`ulGhamim, so that the Quraish would hear of his expedition and it would confirm to them his growing military power. All of these clashes took fourteen days, after which he left to return home.
Continued Expeditions and Delegations
- A platoon led by `Ukashah bin Al-Mihsan (May Allah be Pleased withhim) was dispatched in 6 A.H. to a place called al-Ghamr, which was inhabited by Bani Asad. The enemy immediately fled leaving behind them two hundred camels which were taken to Madinah.
- A platoon led by Muhammad bin Maslamah was sent out towards thehabitation of Bani Tha’labah in Dhul-Qassah. A hundred enemy soldiers ambushed and killed all of them in their sleep, except for Muhammad bin Maslamah who was badly wounded but still managed to escape.
- In retaliation against Bani Tha’labah, Abu `Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (MayAllah be Pleased with him) was dispatched at the head of forty men to Dhul-Qassah.
They walked that night and took the enemy by surprise in the morning. Again, they fled to the mountains except for one of them who was injured. He would later embrace Islam. They gained a lot of booty in that incident.
- A platoon, under the leadership of Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him), was sent to Al-Jamum, an area of Bani Sulaim in Marr Az-Zahran, in the same year. A woman from Bani Muzainah showed them the way to the enemy’s camp.
There the Muslims took some captives and gained a lot of booty. Later on, Allah’s Messenger granted the woman her freedom and married her to one of his followers.
- Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was sent in JumadaAl-Ula, 6 A.H. at the head of a hundred and seventy horsemen, to a place called Al-`Eis. They intercepted a caravan belonging to the Quraish and led by Abul-`As, the Prophet’s son-in-law. Abul-`As escaped and took refuge in the house of Zainab (his wife and the Prophet’s daughter).
He begged her to ask the Prophet to return his wealth. The Prophet asked the people without ordering it. They immediately gave back to him all his wealth. He returned to Makkah, returned the trusts to those who were entitled to it, embraced Islam and emigrated to Madinah where the Prophet reunited him with his wife Zainab after three and a half years, and based on their first marriage contract.
The Verse prohibiting marriage between believers and disbelievers had not been revealed.
- In Jumada Ath-Thaniyah, in the same year, Zaid (May Allah be Pleasedwith him) at the head of fifteen men raided Bani Tha’labah at a place called Taraf or Taraq and captured twenty of their camels, but the people had fled.
- In Rajab of the same year, Zaid (May Allah be Pleased with him), at thehead of twelve men, set out on a survey mission to a place called Wadi AlQura. He was sent to investigate the movements of the enemy. The people there attacked the Muslims, killed nine of them, while the rest including Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him) managed to escape.
- The invasion of Al-Khabat took place in 8 A.H., before the treaty of AlHudaibiyah. Abu `Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (May Allah be Pleased with him), at the head of three hundred horsemen, was sent to observe a caravan belonging to Quraish.
Due to a lack of food supplies and being overcome with hunger, the Muslim expedition began to eat Khabat (leaves of trees), hence the appellation of the expedition: “The Army of Al-Khabat”. One of the men slaughtered nine camels on three occasions, three each time at different stages of the mission. Abu `Ubaidah (May Allah be Pleased with him), the leader of the campaign prohibited him from doing so. The sea presented them with a whale rich in fat and they subsisted on it for half a month.
When they came back home, they narrated the story to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who commented that it was a provision granted to them by Allah, and asked them to share with him some of its meat [Sahih Al Bukhari 2/625, 626]
Chronologically, this occurred before the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah, after which the Muslims stopped intercepting the caravans of the Quraish.